Panthers football moves to new level after years of drought


The Panthers will be returning a host of players next year from the team who went to the Regional Finals this year. (Photo by Dillon Clarke)

For the first time since 1998 the Duncanville Panthers have moved further in the playoffs than any recent team. From the transition  from coach Jeff Dicus to Coach Reginald  Samples the team has had a drastic handover. The 2015-2016 season was a big turnover for this program. Players were added to the roster and others were challenged to step up and be better both on and off the field. 

In my four years of covering this team I have never seen a team more ready for contending for a State title than this one. This team has played every game with intensity and only come up short in games against eventual 6A State Champion DeSoto and state playoff powerhouses Cedar Hill and Allen. 

This year we had explosive  players on the defensive side of the ball.  The defense this year was known for holding teams that were normally scoring loads of points to small numbers on the board. In the Regional finals this team held a strong Allen offense to only 14 points in the first half. This defense was also led by a group of players who will be returning next year and will be even stronger.

Senior running back Tre Siggers pushes past an Allen defender during the Panthers 23-42 loss in the Regional Finals at AT&T Stadium. (Emlyn Almanza photo)

The Panthers offense showed they are very capable of putting points on the board. After losing their star quarterback Jaylen Nelson prior to the playoffs, the offense bounced back. The team finished the season with landslide wins over Irving MacArthur and Grand Prairie combining for a total of 60 points over the course of two regular season games.

The scoring didn’t stop there as new junior starting quarterback Trazon Conneley led his team to playoff wins of 24-7 against Harker Heights, 52-7 against Hebron and then 32-27 against Arlington Bowie. Not only is Conneley coming back next year but he will also be joined by a strong offensive line featuring players that assisted him with a strong outing against Allen at AT&T stadium this year.

Although this team came up short in a 23-42 loss to Allen in the Regional Finals, they are poised to come back next year and make a strong contender for the 6A State Championship. Going from a non playoff team a year ago to posting an 11-3 record and a 5-2 district record, this team is definitely one to watch in the future.

The progression on and off the field has helped this team be successful. I wish I could be here to write about this team in the future because this roster includes a strong offense and defense returning next year and will likely add a few players from the freshman team that destroyed most of their opponents this year as well. There were more than enough bright spots to show fans this team will provide plenty of highlights for years to come. I am glad I will still be close to home for college so I can catch a few games next year.